digital nomad

The Things We Leave Behind

Yesterday morning, I ran 7 miles on the Swamp Rabbit Trail — possibly for the last time — packed up my stuff, and hit the road for the next 4? 6? 8? months. Now, I’m in Louisville, Kentucky, on my way to Kansas City, and yesterday feels more like last week.

In deciding what to pack for an indefinitely long trip, a lot of decisions are hard, and a lot are obvious. Most stuff is replaceable, and a lot is unnecessary. And some just doesn’t make sense to bring along. So I took a picture of one of things I’ll really miss.

Handmade Medal Rack
A friend of mine made this medal rack for me — back when I’d just run my first two half marathons and couldn’t imagine a time when the hooks would be full. It’s now holding medals for 24 half marathons and one full marathon. Each one represents a memory of a time when I did something that ten years ago I never would have dreamed that I would want to do, let alone actually could do.

Now, I’m doing another one of those things. Something that just two years ago I couldn’t have imagined — embarking on an open-ended adventure of excitement, discomfort, and exploration. I’m trying to find where I want to land and am giving myself the time and space to find it. Just the past 36 hours have already been exciting, exhausting, stressful, and delightful. There’s a long road ahead (literally – I’m driving from South Carolina to San Francisco), and I’m tired already. But I’m also so stoked to see where this road leads. And I’m so grateful for the willingness to follow it and the people in my life cheering me on.


I wrote that last night as a post on Instagram – in part because I was too tired to deal with getting on the computer. Typing with my thumbs was about all I could manage. And I wanted to preserve it here — both for its poignancy and because this will be the site for the extended travelogue. For the more extensive chronicling of what’s to come…

I got a decent night’s sleep for the first time in three nights, went for a not very scenic run around the (homely part of the) University of Louisville campus this morning, and spent today working and eating healthy-ish food and trying to live normally instead of living in vacation mode.

It’s day 3 of my digital nomad life, and I can already see how that will be the thing. Living normally without the normalcy of “home.” I’m not on an extended vacation, not really. There is work to be done, and vegetables to be eaten. Exercise to be accomplished, and laundry that will need doing.

There will always be a bed (or a couch, or an air mattress) to be made in the morning. And I intend to remember that’s one of the many small, daily gestures that keeps me grounded. Keeps me present — wherever I am. Because I think that’s one of the ways to stave off feeling hopelessly unmoored when, in fact, I am very much unmoored. But maybe home is where you make your bed, where you brush your teeth, where you do your morning meditation. Where you don’t throw all those things out the window just because the scenery shifted.

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Categories: digital nomad, Travel

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